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Rosie Perez Dishes On What Kaley Cuoco Is Really Like To Work With - Exclusive

Rosie Perez is a showbiz veteran. The Brooklyn-born performer has a lengthy scroll of a resume that dates back to the early '80s when she was a dancer on the classic weekly TV show Soul Train. Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing provided her movie debut in 1989, and in the years since, she's continued the acting and dancing and added director, author, activist, and author to her hearty list of skills.

Through those years of experience, Perez has developed an appreciation for professional behavior that parallels all of the excitement and fun that accompanies acting in movies and TV shows. She takes the time before shooting very seriously, and likes to come into a role prepared. Naturally, she's thrilled when her co-workers are also good to go, as she told Looper during our exclusive interview.

"The worst thing is when you're in a scene with someone and they go, 'Oh gosh, wait, what's the line again?' and you know it's not from nervousness, because sometimes your mind goes blank because of that, that can be forgiven," she says. "But you know it's because they didn't care enough to do the work to know those lines."

It only took one in-person meeting with Kaley Cuoco for Perez to know the two shared a work ethic that would lead to a great and productive creative atmosphere on their new HBO Max series, The Flight Attendant. "Her niceness, professionalism, and enthusiasm sold me," she says. "I believed her when she told me she was going to take care of things."

How a coffee date with Kaley Cuoco solidified Perez's commitment to The Flight Attendant

Perez says she was intrigued by The Flight Attendant and her character Megan immediately. Still, she's careful about selecting projects that require travel away from her New York home, due to her own anxieties regarding travel. When Cuoco heard she was struggling with the decision, she invited Perez to a coffee hang, and that in-person meet-up made all the difference.

The two hit it off immediately, and that's when Perez knew The Flight Attendant would offer the kind of working environment she prefers. "Someone not being prepared takes you out of your game. When that happens, I find myself thinking internally, 'Don't get mad, just breathe, be supportive,' and it finds you taking care of the other actor when that's not your job," she says, adding that "that's the director's job. As actors, our job is to take care of each other in the scene, but I'm not supposed to help you do your homework. When both people are prepared and those nerves or insecurities come into play, then we help each other, we become partners."

Cuoco's response sealed the deal. "When I told her about how I like to work, she said, 'Oh, honey, you're speaking my language,'" Perez recalls, "and we high-fived one another and she interlocked her fingers with mine and I said, 'Oh, Kaley, you're wonderful.' We both just care so much, and we have such a high appreciation of how fortunate we are to get to do this. I thought to myself, 'This is the girl, this is it, I believe everything that she's telling me.'" 

Perez adds that the working experience has been "wonderful" and that, in addition to being extremely hardworking, Cuoco is also extremely fun. When asked if she's on board for a hypothetical second season of The Flight Attendant, she responds by laughing and asking, "Is the sky blue?"

You can see the actors' chemistry when their characters engage on The Flight Attendant, now streaming on HBO Max.